Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Taser shocks contribute to death but not delay in CPRC's investigation of Acevedo death


Art Gage Concedes Mayoral Race

But in San Bernardino Jim Penman waits to do so.

Riverside Mayoral Race

64.95% votes counted

Ron Loveridge: 11,175 69.99%

Art Gage: 4,791 30.01%

Source: Smart Voters

On the first anniversary of the officer-involved death of Marlon Acevedo in Riverside, California, the Riverside County Coroner's office stated that taser charges contributed to his death.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Dr. Scott McCormick, who performed the autopsy on Acevedo, said, in that case too, the Taser was one factor among many, the most important of which was PCP intoxication. Weighing all factors, including the proximity of Taser shocks to his time of death, McCormick decided the Taser should be listed as a factor.

"Absent the use of the Taser, he most likely still would have died. I don't think this is a reason to demonize the use of the Taser," McCormick said.

Riverside Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Jaybee Brennan declined to comment on the case. Acevedo's family has sued in federal court, alleging wrongful death and excessive force.

Deputy Chief Boris Robinson of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said this is the only case in which the coroner's office has cited Taser shocks as a contributing factor. Sandy Fatland, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County coroner's office, said her office has never cited them as a factor.

One of the Inland people dying after being shocked was a 19-year-old at a mental health facility in San Bernardino. He appeared agitated and was wearing a gas mask when police tried to restrain him last month. Two others died in Riverside County in July and August after encounters with sheriff's deputies near Hemet and in Moreno Valley. Authorities said the men behaved as if they had mental problems or were under the influence of drugs. Details about the causes of death in all three cases have not been released.

It's interesting that the media was aware of the content of the autopsy report from the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's office months or perhaps years before the Community Police Review Commission has access to that same report. Maybe the city council should come up with other excuses besides the integrity of a criminal investigation when defending its collective actions against the CPRC fulfilling its charter mandate for investigating and reviewing officer-involved deaths. Especially since the city's legal representatives have claimed that the investigations of officers for incustody deaths by their investigations bureau aren't really criminal investigations at all in defense against two lawsuits filed by the Riverside Police Officers' Association in 2003 and in August 2009. The RPOA lawsuit filed two months ago also alleged that management and supervisory personnel in the department called one shooting "good" before the involved officers were even interviewed and that the department saw no reason to allow one of the involved officers in that shooting to retain a lawyer for his interview with investigators.

On Halloween, the Marlon Acevedo case became the third officer-involved death to hit its first year anniversary without the CPRC being allowed to investigate it since it was first barred by City Manager Brad Hudson and later by a majority of his city council from exercising its charter mandate, a responsibility given to it by the majority of the city's voters when Measure II passed in November 2004.

It's a practically a given that the fourth death, that of Russell Hyatt will probably hit its first year anniversary in mid January before the ban is lifted on the CPRC on investigating any of these deaths. Such is the state of the city council on this issue including those who have endorsed the passage of Measure II which was set up to protect the commission from exactly the same interference it's facing now.

At the time, the city council voted 5-2 to essentially bar the CPRC from doing investigations until after the police department had decided it was fine for it to do so, council members, department officials and Hudson and company assured the public that these delays would last six months at the most. As you can see from below, the city and department are 4 for 4 for officer-involved deaths that have passed the 180 day mark. The city council and Mayor Ron Loveridge who backed the council's decision last March owe the public an explanation as to why their forecast did not come to pass.

Luckily, the CPRC will provide them with this opportunity to do so given that the commission as neutered as it's become has voted 7-1 (with contracted employee Peter Hubbard naturally voting nay) to send another letter of "clarification" to Loveridge and the city council as to why these cases have been allowed to lag so long without the ban being lifted. It remains to be seen whether there will be anymore of a response to that letter than there was one sent last autumn not long after the Hudson directive was issued. It took a tremendous push to place what had taken place behind doors outside the public's eye into the public forums and place the city council and mayor in the position of having to publicly do what had intended to be done in private. And the leader of the movement to bar the commission from investigating incustody deaths, former councilman Frank Schiavone witnessed his voting support from several key neighborhoods in his ward evaporate and disappear, something that he perhaps is left to contemplate back in the private sector.

Here's the time line on the four outstanding officer-involved deaths in Riverside.

Carlos David Quinonez, Sr. (Latino) died Sept. 1, 2008: 426 days

Fernando Luis Sanchez (Latino)died Sept. 11, 2008: 416 days

Marlon Acevedo (Latino) died Oct. 31, 2008: 366 days

Russell Franklin Hyatt (White) died Jan. 17, 2009: 288 days

At its last meeting, some members of the CPRC sat and wondered whether it was usual for officer-involved death cases to be delayed this long by the police department and/or Riverside County District Attorney's office and no it is not. The previous record for a delayed case was about 300 days for the 2003 fatal shooting of Volne Lamont Stokes which had actually been completed by the Officer-Involved Death Investigation team earlier but had been placed on hold in the Internal Affairs Division headquarters until someone from the OID team could transport two copies, one to the D.A.'s office and the other to the CPRC at the same time. The cases before and after that took less than a year, with Summer Lane taking about eight months and Lee Deante Brown about seven before reaching the CPRC which of course per the charter had initiated its own investigations by that time.

And is the current load the highest the department ever had to investigate and review at one time? No, between November 2002 and December 2003, there were five officer-involved deaths and at least five nonfatal shootings, including three in April 2003.

As for the coroner in this case, it remains to be seen whether Taser International which manufactures the devices will sue for the striking of the use of tasers as even a contributing factor as the company did in Ohio.

Vote on Tuesday

Election day will be hitting this Tuesday, Nov. 3 so head for the polls if you haven't voted absentee. The Press Enterprise released its list of endorsements. This blog doesn't endorse in elections because it's up to every registered voter to educate themselves on the candidates running, the issues they stand for and behind and to come up with a voting decision they can be proud of or at least live with. The important thing is to go out and vote either in person or through absentee ballot rather than not participate at all. Don't opt out of the process because you don't think your vote counts for much or at all.

Riverside elections have been decided with as few as four to five votes. And more times than you might think especially lately, it's been by no more than a dozen or so votes, or even less.

And if you're eligible to vote and aren't registered then go out and get registered so you can participate in future elections because there's quite a few coming up in 2010 at the county, state and national level.

Here in Riverside, there is the mayoral race that has been playing out for the past several months.

Current Mayor Ron Loveridge is a long-time incumbent which makes him tough to beat and on his brochures, he's taking credit for issues that are usually dealt with by municipal legislative bodies particularly in a weak mayor system. It's difficult to compare him for better or worse with San Bernardino's mayor Patrick Morris because the role of mayor is much different in that city. On the other hand, the mayor is directly elected by voters citywide in Riverside whereas in some other cities like Moreno Valley, mayor's are appointed from and by council members who themselves were directly elected by voters in their legislative wards.

Former councilman, Art Gage is running as an "outsider" to a system he was once smack dab in the middle of and if he gets at least a third of the vote or so, it will be a win for him because he's probably hoping to get some name recognition for the first open mayoral election in years which is set for 2012. There's some pretty big names or more accurately, blasts from the past who are planning to line up for that one so a little recognition doesn't hurt.

There's also two really good write-in candidates in Ken Stansbury and Troy Kent, who's 18 and still in high school. Both are running to offer alternatives to the status quo in Riverside which many people believe has gone on for too long.

So don't forget to vote. It's your voice.

Former Riverside Police Department officer arraigned on 12 felony counts

Former Riverside Police Department officer David Reeves, jr. was arraigned on the 12 felony charges he faces and plead not guilty in front of presiding judge, Richard Fields in Riverside County Superior Court. He still remains in custody under $500,000 bail.

Operations Safe Parks, the revamping of an old program shared by the Riverside Police Department and the Parks and Recreation Department gets started back up again.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"The best thing that happens is when the community contacts us and says, 'Hey, did you know there's an issue over here,' because we don't live in the neighborhood," Manning said in a phone interview.

At White Park, Manning said information from residents recently helped police solve about 30 burglaries in the Mount Rubidoux area and led to a sting resulting in the arrests of nine drug dealers.

"It was absolutely a result of the community partnership," Manning said.

Judy Cunningham, who lives a few blocks from White Park, is among the residents who started talking regularly with police.

Earlier this year, she noticed an increase in drug dealing and general loitering in the park. After the fenced park closed at dark, people would hang around outside the gates, she said Thursday while standing in the park.

"About six months ago it was crazy. You would walk through and there would be people over there and over there," Cunningham said, gesturing toward the trees and bushes along the fence line surrounding the park. "They would verbally say stuff to you or block the way."

More delays in the retrial of a man convicted of killing two Riverside Police Department officers in 1982. Both phases of the trial were kicked out by a higher court several years ago.

The revenue earnings by Riverside County continue to plunge.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The county will again tap a contingency fund to stabilize the budget, but the revenue losses have pushed the structural deficit past $70 million. The gap is the difference between revenues and ongoing expenses, which are budgeted at $680 million.

"We will need every dollar in county reserves if we hope to manage multiple years of budget cuts that otherwise would decimate general-fund services," county Chief Executive Officer Bill Luna wrote in the report to the Board of Supervisors.

"While using reserves mitigates immediate issues, it does nothing to address our growing structural deficit and further erodes our fiscal safety net."

The county can achieve long-term fiscal stability by permanently cutting ongoing general-fund expenditures, Luna wrote.

"Our problems are complicated when adopted budget targets are not met, and projected revenues underperform estimates," Luna said.

Paul McDonnell, the county's chief financial officer, said the current budget did not adequately take into account the property tax revenues transferred to the newly incorporated cities of Menifee and Wildomar.

In addition, supplemental property tax refunds have skyrocketed, McDonnell said in an interview.

When a person buys a house, the owner receives a supplemental property tax bill. If the new value is more than before the sale, the owner gets an increased bill. If the opposite is true, the owner gets a refund check from the county.

With so many foreclosures, short sales and other distressed properties on the market, the refunds have dramatically increased, Assessor Larry Ward said in an interview.

"We don't send out a lot of bills right now," Ward said.

Norco gets its city manager by hiring its interim manager.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Norco Mayor Pro Tem Malcolm Miller said Friday that extending Groves' contract to become city manager is the best decision for the city.

"She's gotten a quick handle on what is important for the community," including economic development and historic preservation, Miller said.

He said he would like to see Groves focus over the next two years on preventing the city from continuing to dip into its reserves, generating new projects and continuing to work on existing ones that will bring tax revenue into the city. He also wants her to see a proposed waste-to-energy power plant to completion.

Miller said he expects one challenge Groves will face over the next two years is reducing city spending on public safety.

"I still believe that we're spending too much on public safety and we need to find ways to reduce those, find a way that's acceptable to citizens at an alternative price," Miller said.

Councilman Berwin Hanna said the decision to make Groves permanent just makes sense.

"She's already kind of familiar with the city and how we work. Then we wouldn't have to go out and go through another hiring procedure," Hanna said.

San Bernardino County unveiled its new courthouse but few people came to see it.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Disappointment at the low turnout showed clearly on the face of James C. McGuire, presiding judge of San Bernardino County Superior Court. Row after row of seats sat empty. Most of the cookies and punch on a table in the back of the room were untouched.

McGuire headed a list of municipal, civic and court leaders who attended the event, including San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris and San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos.

To Morris and others, the 362,000-square-foot court building, projected to begin construction in 15 months, represents more than a utilitarian function of unclogging the county's court system. The new court complex is viewed as another way to revitalize a deteriorating downtown.

"This is a very important project for the county and for the city that is known as the county seat," Morris said, noting that a new transit center is planned two blocks away. "We think this will bring a new face to downtown."


Monday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. the Human Resources Board meets on the Fifth Floor conference room at City Hall. This meeting, Chief Russ Leach of the police department has been scheduled to appear. Will he get permission from his bosses in the city manager's office? It's hoped that he will be able to attend and speak to the board on what's going on in the police department, at least what can be talked about.

The board's agenda for this meeting is here. The Human Resources Board also has a Web site which is located here.

Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m.
The city council will hold its typical election day abbreviated meeting meaning there will be no evening session. this agenda will tell you what you need to know.

The lawsuit filed against the city by Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Wayne Guillary is back on the closed session agenda for the second time in several weeks. Does this mean the city's in settlement talks?

Friday, Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. The Finance Committee breaks its nearly year long drought on holding meetings and will discuss business on the Seventh Floor of City Hall. The agenda has been posted here and This report has been written by Asst. City Manager and Financial CEO Paul Sundeen.

Twitter De Dee

The blog Inside Riverside is on Twitter here and blogs about how much longer the Press Enterprise will last on Belo's watch.


Likewise, the Press-Enterprise/Press Enquirer destroyed its credibility by failing to conntain its opinions to the Editorial Page. When reporting on political matters, articles that could injury politicians the paper supported did not receive the proper coverage or were ignored entirely, as were articles that would be positive for elected officials The Press-Enterprise did not like.

But there is a silver lining in all of this.

The Press-Enterprise's failure to report certain news items and the Editorial Board's out-of-touch views of the world led to the birth of Inside Riverside.

Without the shortcomings of the Press Enquirer this blog never would have been born of necessity.

So we thank the leaders of the Press Enquirer for creating the opportunity to build this blog which has had an explosion of readership at the same time your once great newspaper is going the way of the Dodo.

More Press Enterprise Layoffs

Will there be more coming? The link above clicks to show layoffs six months ago. A few weeks ago, more employees including reporters were laid off. When will the hemorrhage end?

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The drought appears over for the Finance Committee

Finance Committee to Meet

I received emails and messages today that one of the city's longest running droughts may be ending next week and that's involving the failure of one of the subcommittees formed by the Riverside City Council to meet in nearly a year. The Finance Committee is actually set to meet on Friday, Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. in City Hall on the Seventh Floor. Not tentatively set to meet as it has been various times during the year but it's actually on the schedule with a set agenda.

The Finance Committee last met on Dec. 8, 2008 to receive a report on the fiscal budget from Asst. City Manager and Finance Director Paul Sundeen. The latest activity from Sundeen in relation to the committee was to assist Committee Chair and Councilwoman Nancy Hart in explaining during a recent city council meeting why there hadn't been any meeting in so long. Tentative meetings were scheduled on nearly a monthly basis but they were always canceled even before any agenda could be posted. This issue has been blogged about extensively here and at that recent meeting, Hart told the mayor, the city council and the viewing audience that she was responding to questions she had been asked by various individuals as to why this committee never met, during a period of time set aside for elected officials to make remarks near the end of the meeting.

One of its members, Councilman Paul Davis had allegedly been promised the chair position by Mayor Ron Loveridge when he and interim mayor pro tem at the time, Councilman Andrew Melendrez had been coming up with prospective appointments to the city council committees. But when the decision was made, former vice-chair Hart was elevated to chair and Davis inherited her position. It's been said that City Hall went with Hart because it was very unlikely she would ever convene a meeting during her tenure as chair and in fact, her comments seemed to indicate to many listeners including those who contacted me (and it was a bit surprising the fervor this issue caused) that she had abdicated the decision on whether this mechanism of financial accountability and transparency would ever meet, to the city manager's office. Davis on the other hand had campaigned on financial accountability at City Hall including projects under the Riverside Renaissance banner in terms of finding out exactly what the costs will be and he was working on getting the committee to hold a meeting.

It remains to be seen if the city manager's office will be too happy about closer examination of the Renaissance which has grown from an initial budget of $700 million to an astronomical $2.1 billion and depending how much of the budget was based on bonds sales, that number could grow for future generations to pay the bills. And the city's residents really deserve to know the truth about how much they and their future descendants will be paying for the Renaissance party. Not to be told that they are misinformed about where the money's coming from because if that's the truth, then City Hall didn't do its job in educating the public about this massive municipal experiment paid for with their tax dollars in one way or another.

Now, before anyone says that to critique the Renaissance is to be a party pooper, there's a lot of good projects that have helped upgrade infrastructure issues in this city to improve them but some of the other items, such as the seizure of private businesses through threat of eminent domain by the Redevelopment Agency have been more problematic. And the uncertainty among city residents about where the money is or will be coming from needs to be addressed in a transparent fashion.

This is what a Finance Committee Agenda looks like.

Just click "Finance Committee", "2009", "Agendas" and then the one for Nov. 6, 2009 which covers utility bonds and you will be witnessing a historic moment in Riverside.

Hopefully, it means this important subcommittee which provides a layer of transparency and makes it a tiny bit harder for any Seventh Floor backdoor deals to continue, will meet on some sort of regular schedule again. But things look a bit brighter for the city. Just several weeks ago, it appeared that both the Finance Committee and the police department's second strategic plan were benched. The strategic plan which was first announced by Police Chief Russ Leach at public events last spring somehow ran aground in the interim and was allegedly being roadblocked by City Hall management. Others say that it might have been the pallor of former Councilman Frank Schiavone's role in defining and influencing the direction of the police department which might have been a factor until he was voted out of office in June.

But that plan also seems to be back on least for now, but like the Finance Committee and about a dozen or so other issues, it will require constant vigilance to make sure it stays on the right track.

Under New Chair, CPRC Spins its Wheels

[Left, Brian Pearcy listens as fellow CPRC commissioner, Chani Beeman tries to make her point. A motion to lift the current ban minority viewpoints and/or minority reports died for the lack of a second. ]

City Hall won more points with its favorite plaything, the Community Police Review Commission when a push by Commissioner Brian Pearcy to undo what he called a "void" vote banning minority reports in August withered on the vine for the lack of a second. Or so that's how it was explained to people who couldn't stay for the marathon meeting.

Pearcy who missed the meeting where the vote took place questioned its validity given that he didn't think it was properly agendized and pointed out that while the motion on record said that minority reports had been banned, the expression of minority viewpoints perhaps included within the majority report had been allowed. Yet, you had people like Commissioner Art Santore go on about how there should be no minority viewpoints period when he had been one of the majority who had voted to allow written minority viewpoints if not minority reports. So did Santore change his mind?

No, he just clearly didn't pay attention to what he was voting on when that whole sad state affairs went down in August's general meeting. Nor did it appear did most of the other commissioners who didn't seem to be sure what they voted upon which has to be the most ridiculous state of affairs since they voted to include a minority report that they later admitted they didn't read. And if they had read it, they would have voted against it even though a majority body voting against a minority report because they disagree with its content is not something that many people would think happens in real life. Wonderland maybe, but not real life.

Apparently, by the end of the meeting, most of the commission, well actually all of it except the person left standing trying to salvage the minority viewpoint had lost their moral compass and Pearcy's motion died for lack of a second. And that's kind of funny in its own way because earlier there had been two motions on the floor, both with seconds. What's even more interesting is if you watch the Planning Commission, the Human Relations Commission and the Human Resources Board and compare their members' behavior to the CPRC, the CPRC stands alone in having meetings where the majority picks on the minority voices and doesn't try to just silence them but makes personal attacks against them. It's interesting watching Rogan scold commissioners like Chani Beeman for their "style" (as if that's even his role at all) when she asks commissioners to engage and then when commissioners like Ken Rotker push through some sort of passive aggressive innuendo and then insults through the back door commissioners like Chani Beeman, they get passes by Rogan.

But Rogan provided the most entertainment when he either appeared confused or tried to confuse people's concern about delayed investigations into officer-involved deaths with saying it doesn't matter because the deliberations of these cases by the commission wouldn't take place any sooner if the CPRC began its investigations sooner. Seriously, if he's that confused about the separation of those two processes and the time sensitivity issues that are unique to each one, then what is he doing there earning over $150,000 for what in reality (if not by city definition) is a part-time job? I'll take his "false specter" that he mentioned and raise him his latest "straw man argument".

Former chair Sheri Corral resigned and was replaced by Hubbard as chair. Hubbard slouched in his chair the whole time and like Corral, sought guidance for most of his decisions from CPRC Manager Kevin Rogan. It usually went like this. Someone would say something. Hubbard looks lost. Hubbard looks at Rogan. Rogan nods or shakes his head and then Hubbard verbalizes what Rogan has done. Some people say that's the biggest problem with the CPRC these days, its lack of leadership. No, a bigger problem is when the commission handed off its leadership role to its own employee Rogan which is kind of like the city council's biggest problem that it handed over the keys to the city to its direct employees.

The newest commissioner Rogelio Morales from the second ward made his debut and presumably made it through the entire meeting. He was probably the most vocal of any new commissioner in recent history and asked good questions including a couple that some of the other commissioners should have asked six months ago. But he also asked if the meetings could be conducted via the internet so that they could sit in their pajamas and talk about cases. Newest commissioner, meet the Brown Act. Well, maybe they can just hold the meetings at City Hall in their pajamas.

Something did get accomplished during the meeting. The commission did vote 7-1 with one vacancy and Hubbard of course dissenting, to send another letter to the city council and mayor asking for further clarification on the situation involving the delays for investigating officer-involved deaths that were first foisted on them by City Manager Brad Hudson and City Attorney Gregory Priamos. In fact, it was Priamos who informed them in one particularly animated meeting that there could be year-long jail sentences and hefty fines for charter violations, which is pretty interesting considering that Priamos apparently believed that even putting an item on the agenda discussing the possible hiring of independent legal counsel was some sort of charter violation. Which most people might think of as being a conflict of interest at work. Priamos kind of quieted down after he was the one who got written up in the Press Enterprise in a negative way last year for actions involving the CPRC and the ethics code and complaint process that were actually done by Hudson's office. Relations between these two direct employees of the city council are said to be less than warm because Hudson allegedly had believed when the city hired him that it needed a different city attorney. If that's the case, who can blame Priamos for being miffed?

But the commission voted to send a letter reminding the city council and mayor that when they voted by majority to bar the CPRC from launching independent investigations of officer-involved deaths, they and representatives from the police department and city manager's office had reassured them that there wouldn't be more than a six month delay in their investigations. But as three out of four of the officer involved deaths have or will shortly pass their first anniversaries by this weekend all without independent investigations being initiated by the CPRC, clearly these individuals' reassurances were for naught and the waiting periods have gone way beyond those forecast by Hudson and the city council.

It's not clear whether this latest letter will generate any meaningful response from the city council but the number one question that is arising in many communities about the CPRC for most people who are asked about it, is what is with this delay of officer-involved deaths?

Just when you don't think this commission can get any more dysfunctional, the valiant commissioners of the CPRC prove you wrong once again. Dysfunction as an art form, that's the CPRC in a nutshell.

Speaking of Hubbard, he's on deck at the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee this month on Monday, Nov. 23 as the subject of an ethics complaint for conflict of interest because he is employed in a high-ranking position with a company, American Medical Response, that has a contract with the city manager's office.

In more CPRC business, interviews for the Ward Three commissioner vacancy will be held Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. on the Seventh Floor at City Hall.

City Hall new security system creates captive audiences at keeping them captive

They say that the sign of success of a meeting is getting people to show up and even more if you can get them to stay, but recently in at least one scheduled meeting at City Hall, people attending had to wait until the meeting was over before being allowed to leave the building because of a new security system installed at City Hall, in lieu of the security guards who used to man the buildings while meetings were conducted in the evening.

If you are in City Hall attending a meeting after 7 p.m. and you need to leave, you might be stuck inside the building unless you can find a city employee willing to let youout. That was the case during the CPRC meeting when virtually everyone who attended left before the latest marathon session of bickering and power plays had been adjourned. CPRC Manager Kevin Rogan had to escort people out of the building and disengage the security system so that people could leave without setting it off.

That wasn't the case involving a recent meeting of the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership. People attending that meeting had to remain for its entirety without being allowed to leave
Seriously, in the latter meeting, the city employee from the Office of Neighborhoods/Development leading it said that if anyone left the building, they would trigger the alarm causing the police department's SWAT team to rush over to City Hall so they had to wait until the meeting adjourned before being allowed to exit the building. There was no prior notification on the meeting agenda or posted at City Hall that this would be the case and it's difficult to find any legal justification for preventing people from leaving a meeting before it's over especially when they haven't been notified of those rules beforehand. In fact, it's not clear whether the public has even been informed that this new security system was installed.

There should also be notification on the agendas of meetings like the RNP that start at 6:30 pm that if you're late to the meeting and get to City Hall after 7 p.m. that you will not be able to get inside the locked down building to attend that meeting.

The city council and mayor tell everyone to "shop Riverside". In fact, there's a campaign of sorts trying to get people to do this. But what happens when the mayor doesn't during his campaign?

(excerpt, Inland Empire Weekly)

Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge is currently seeking a fifth term in the city’s highest post. And like all political hopefuls, he is spending dough on mailers, a campaign website, consultants and—of course—signs. And to whom did Mayor Loveridge turn for the printing of these election-era eyesores? Surely to one of the many qualified, affordable print shops in the City of Riverside, right?


So, sir. Some of Loveridge’s lawn signs were printed by COGS South Signs, a print shop based in Santa Ana. Although COGS does not appear anywhere in the Mayor’s campaign disclosure firms, there’s no way to deny it—the signs themselves are printed with the firm’s logo and telephone number, according to The Press-Enterprise’s Dan Bernstein (Loveridge’s responses were lame like: “You hire vendors that make a good product. They’re found in different places. People you’ve done work with in the past, you continue that relationship.”

Curiously, just a few months ago, Loveridge described shopping Riverside as the “most important” part of an overall effort to get the city out if its economic doldrums, during a Jan. 22 “State of the City” speech.

Justin Tracy sees a parallel between these campaign spending decisions and the way the city is run. Tracy, who bills himself as a “reasonable guy,” is the owner of PIP printing in Downtown Riverside. He understands that if a merchant offers a better service or a better price, it makes sense to use that business’ goods or services, even if it is outside the city. “He should task his campaign manager with finding services within the city, but if he does find a better deal outside the city, then he should not let them print the info on the sign!” The decisions about how a campaign’s money is spent naturally fall to the treasurer of the re-election committee, in this case, Jim Dudek. In reference to Loveridge’s negligence in his delegation of authority, Tracy asks, “Isn’t it reflective of the oversight he provides the city in general?

Press Enterprise
Columnist Dan Bernstein discusses the Neo-Nazis rallies and counter demonstrations.

And there's some Nazi chatter here from someone identifying himself as Mike O'Dell who participated in the Nazi rally in Casa Blanca on Saturday.


The Blacks have the NAACP, The Mexicans have MPA, "Mexican Political Association

But when we create our own group, then we are called "racists"...

I don't think so.

God Bless the Neo Nazis... Thank you Mike O'Dell

Dear Mr. O'Dell,

You need to go back and read the NSM's 25 point plan which talks about expelling anyone who's not White which isn't in the platforms of either organization listed. Oh and it's not Mexican Political Association, it's Mexican-American Political Association but then again, your own plan states that people of Mexican ancestry can't be American citizens under the Nazi version of utopia.

Oh, and the NAACP was created when your brothers in the Klan started hanging Black citizens from trees and your ideology stemmed from the murder of over 6 million people, an event that's obviously makes the current generations of Nazis uncomfortable enough to engage in revisionist history by pretending it never happened.


There's a changing of the guard coming to the Los Angeles Police Department with the departure of current chief, William Bratton who is taking a high-paying private sector position. This series of articles from the Los Angeles Times discusses the responsibilities and challenges faced by Bratton's successor.

Bratton writes this article about keeping Special Order 40 in place even after he is gone.

Pittsburgh's form of civilian oversight is finding it difficult to meet.

(excerpt, The Pitt News)

The Citizen Police Review Board plans to hold a public hearing concerning the G-20 Summit-related arrests in Oakland, but the University’s feelings about the meeting are unclear.

The review board, an independent group that investigates police behavior, tentatively scheduled a public hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 10 to hear students’ and business owners’ complaints about police conduct during and surrounding the Summit.

Beth Pittinger, the board’s executive director, said the group initially hoped to hold the meeting on campus, “because [the demonstrations] happened there.”

If it can’t hold a meeting on campus, Pittinger said, the group will hold one at another location in Oakland.

Robert Hill, Pitt’s vice chancellor of public affairs, said it was “premature” to comment on the Citizen Police Review Board’s plans because the University hasn’t yet received a request to use its facilities.

“We have not established a position,” Hill said.

Will voters approve a new civilian review board in Fort Myers, Florida?

(excerpt, Wink News)

The police union is campaigning against it, saying it would cost taxpayers too much. They're sending out fliers to voters, urging them to vote no on the new police review panel, when the city already has one. Supporters say the mailings are distorting what they consider to be the truth.

"It's shameful politics that they're playing," says activist Anthony Thomas, who has led the charge for citizen review of the Fort Myers Police Department since the officer-involved shooting death of Ernest Weston in 2007.

He says the police union's opposition mailings overstate the taxpayer impact of the proposed panel.

"The city has put it at more than a million dollars. We think it'll be more like $100,000," Thomas said

A clash between the Chicago Police Department chief and the civilian review mechanism has emerged about who decides on discipline for police officers.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Riverside news briefs, elections, Neo Nazis and Parkview Hospital

Just days after the latest Neo Nazi demonstration and counter demonstration in Riverside, there's a lot of reflection going on in different places. The Neo Nazis emboldened by their ability to draw the attention of hundreds of counter demonstrators from Southern California and dozens of representatives from four state and local law enforcement agencies have announced to the press that they are planning on more regular demonstrations at the day laborer site near Indiana and Madison in Casa Blanca, Riverside. And why shouldn't they? There has never been eight more people holding as much power in their White Supremacist hands as this small band of Nazi Germany nostalgists do now at least not for a while. More power in that manner, than politicians and even members of the Greater Chamber of Commerce. Do you think if a city council member or prominent business leader issued a press release to show up that they would get this kind of response?

Maybe Sheryl Crow or Pat Benatar will rival that kind of responsive audience when they appear at the Fox Theater next year.

The coalition that formed among 60 political organizations and religious institutions isn't sure whether or not they will sponsor another counter demonstration if the Neo Nazis decide to protest. They appeared shocked at the actions taken by some of the counter demonstrators including members of the Brown Berets at the demonstration on Saturday. About five minutes after the Neo Nazis arrived at a dirt lot adjacent to the railroad tracks, a small group of counter demonstrators ran from across Madison and broke through police lines and over a metal barrier to get into a fistfight with Neo Nazis.

But the majority of the demonstrators protested peacefully and passionately against the Neo Nazis who numbered about 20 for about three hours. The police were restrained, creating police lines after the fistfight and after the demonstration, many people went to relax at the park.

La Indy Media provided its coverage of the events. The posters there claim the Nazis lost and they won like it's some kind of sporting event.

There's a lot of talk about stamping out hate in the Inland Empire before it takes root and then associating the emergence of the representatives of the NSM while patting themselves on the back for doing this. But the problem with that, is that the Nazis didn't bring hatred, they're tapping into hatred that's already been in this region for years and as it turns out, the NSM chapter in Riverside is about four years old. The region has long been a location where hate groups and gangs congregate and set up chapters or cells, whether they are Western Hammerskins/Nation, Christian Nationalist Movement, Public Enemy Number 1 (fastest growing), Nazi Low Riders, Into Everything, Aryan Brotherhood, White Aryan Resistance, White Aryan Army, IE Skinheads, Ku Klux Klan and others. The NSM if it's setting up a more hefty chapter in Riverside is simply another one on the list.

Most of the above organizations don't protest visibly and some of them are not even known about until a law enforcement agency such as the Riverside County Sheriff's Department arrests them and at press conferences, their arsenals are put on displays on tables along with their racist paraphernalia. Or in the case with the Hammarskins, a number of them are arrested after a racist attack against a member of one of their target groups, as was the case with the attack against a Black man, Randall Bowen in Temecula a few years ago. What is attracting so many hate organizations and gangs into this region? Why do they find this region very productive recruitment ground?

And when they take their banners, drums and signs home at the end of the day, Riverside itself remains unchanged in that regard. There's many good things about this city and its people but there's problems as well particularly in the area of race relations. Which is one reason why organizations like the NSM are trying to get a foothold in Riverside facilitated by the poor local economy, high unemployment rate and high percentage of people who commute long distances to work leaving their kids at home with their computers.

I ran into Mayor Ron Loveridge in the elevator and he was talking about the multicultural forum on Friday pretty early in the morning. He seemed a bit wigged out by the Neo Nazis and the counter demonstrations and when I told him that the Neo Nazis might be doing more protests and he walked away saying that wasn't the announcement that he wanted to hear.

Neo Nazis setting up chapters in California, according to the Anti-Defamation League and mirroring some of the activities of the Save Our State (founded by the current "outreach" consultant of the San Bernardino Police Officers' Association Joe Turner) and the Minutemen. The latter two groups tried to disavow any connection with White Supremacist organizations like the NSM but I guess since a couple of their members were there holding Nazi flags at the latest rally in Riverside, that this stance has...changed.

A Changing of the Guard on the CPRC

The Community Police Review Commission is set to meet again, with eight members given that the Rogelio Morales who is the new Ward Two commissioner has finally been processed and sworn in and there's a new vacancy because of the resignation of Chair Sheri Corral. With her gone, Vice-Chair Peter Hubbard will become chair and there probably won't be an election to fill his spot as there is no language in the bylaws or policies and procedures covering the filling of vice-chair positions mid-term. And besides, City Hall probably hasn't figured out which commissioner it wants to fill that position. No doubt, when it finally does, another highly questionable election will be held filling that position.

As for Morales he's expected to make his debut at the CPRC meeting as a commissioner. He attended the last meeting and left about half way through. It wasn't clear whether that was because he had a prior commitment or he just got disgusted like most of the people who attend commission meetings after sitting for about 30 minutes.

It's not sure what kind of chair Hubbard (who manages or regionally directs a company, American Medical Response, that has a public safety contract with the city manager's office) and it's not clear whether there will continue to be fewer meetings than there is now, even as the number of days on average it takes the CPRC to review complaints has increased especially since the new leadership of the CPRC took office in March.

Complaint time lines involving the CPRC will be on the agenda for the current meeting for discussion along with a reemergence of the issue of minority reports. The latter was placed back on the agenda by commissioner Brian Pearcy who was absent when all but two of the current commissioners voted to eliminate them pretty much forever.

More Election News

Speaking of elections, the Riverside Police Officers' Association is gearing up for its own election next month to fill board positions. So far, there are three candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring to run for the presidency which has a two-year term including incumbent, Det. Chris Lanzillo. Two opponents, one an officer and the other a detective have also been nominated. Last time out, Lanzillo won by about 80 votes including many cast by newer patrol officers. The union has been facing its own divisions within its ranks during the past several years and has also filed at least one lawsuit against the city in recent months for the department's interrogation practices during investigations which may or may not be defined by the department as being investigations.

Challenges faced by the association will include future contract negotiations, freezes on step pay increases and freezes in hiring and promotions. Although technically it's not the promotional positions that have been frozen, it's the pay increases that come with the higher level position to the person being promoted as there have been promotions done already where the people didn't get the increases in pay that usually accompany them.

The RPOA also apparently tried to get on the agenda for a CPRC meeting but were allegedly told by CPRC Manager Kevin Rogan that they couldn't be on the agenda. That situation appears to have been straightened out and they are awaiting a date to appear on the agenda at a future date. It will be the bargaining unit's first appearance at a meeting in front of the commission since March 2004.

Parkview Hospital needed money from Riverside in the past and now it needs more funding again. From somewhere.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Parkview Community's financing search is a result of a decision made by one of the hospital's lenders to get out of the commercial finance business, the hospital's attorney said.

City officials recently asked Riverside's Washington, D.C., delegation, including Rep. Ken Calvert and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, to help Parkview Community with HUD's application process, Mac Arthur said.

City officials got involved after Riverside's business community expressed concerns about the hospital, Mac Arthur said. He said he didn't know why the hospital is looking for money.

"This is an economic engine for the community," Mac Arthur said. "We need to make sure the hospital stays open."

Parkview Community, a 193-bed hospital, filed for bankruptcy-court protection in 2002 after years of losses. In 2002, the city of Riverside and a private donor loaned the hospital $1.5 million to save it from liquidation.

Lemar Wooley, a HUD spokesman, said officials at Parkview Community had submitted preliminary information but had not yet applied to the department's Federal Housing Authority mortgage insurance program.

"We have invited their lender and the hospital to Washington, D.C., for a preliminary meeting," he said. "(There is) nothing scheduled as of now."

Is the proposed multi-modal transit center in Riverside back on track?

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

City and county officials said other stumbling blocks hopefully can be addressed in the next two months. Riverside Councilman Andy Melendrez said planners must make sure the center doesn't conflict with the planned widening of Highway 91 through downtown Riverside, including a new intersection with 14th Street.

"I'd hate to see this site compromised by the widening," Melendrez said.

At first glance, the widening of Highway 91 will take some of the property, but probably not enough to impact the project, Gardner said. There should be plenty of room for buses to turn at the planned transit center once buildings are demolished and the new building -- mostly a shelter for riders waiting on buses, with restrooms and possibly some small space for Riverside Transit Agency staff and Greyhound ticket sales -- is finished.

Gardner said the most optimistic schedule would have construction start early next year and take until early 2011. Most of the cost would be covered by the federal transit money awaiting the bus system and other Riverside Transit Agency funds.

With weeks of study left, officials remain optimistic, but they are not ready to declare the center a done deal.

"I'm just pleased to get this far," Gardner said.

The vacancy in the Riverside County Board of Supervisors once again delays action.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger still has not appointed a replacement for the late Supervisor Roy Wilson, leaving the board with little margin for either disagreement or unexpected absences.

Last week, Board Chairman Jeff Stone was absent, forcing the delay. This week, Supervisor Bob Buster missed the meeting.

As a result, Stone asked county officials to fax copies of Tuesday's continuances to the governor's office to show the effect the lack of an appointment is having on Riverside County.

"It is becoming very critical for Gov. Schwarzenegger to make the appointment necessary to fill the 4th District seat," Stone said.

Stone said he spoke with John Cruz, the governor's appointment secretary, Monday and "stressed that we are coming into a fiscal crisis, not because we don't have the money but because we don't have the votes to disburse the money."

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said Tuesday the Riverside County board still has a quorum to do business. Only certain items, such as budget adjustments, require a four-fifths vote.

"The focus for us on boards and commissions is to appoint those boards that do not have a quorum," McLear said. "We recognize that there's a vacancy on that board. The governor is currently looking for the most qualified candidate to fill that seat."

Inside Riverside has started writing on the upcoming election for Riverside County's next sheriff. Currently, it is a bit of a contest instead of a coronation between current sheriff, Stan Sniff who was elected by three board of supervisor members last year and an ex-employee of the department, Frank Robles.

What's interesting is the argument taking place on the comment thread between various self-identified members of the Riverside Sheriff's Association including one post where Inside Riverside's administrator had to edit out a swear word. Look for the Sheriff's race to heat up for a change and that should prove to be quite exciting in the weeks and months ahead until next year's election.

Recall election efforts are totally in vogue in Riverside County this season. In Moreno Valley, a city councilwoman's sighing in relief because a recall effort against her has failed even as a councilman in Lake Elsinore faces a recall election.

In Perris, voters will decide whether prospective city clerks should continue to run for election.

Riverside County is trying to hold onto its money.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Under the current budget, the state will borrow 8 percent of the property tax revenue designated for cities, counties and special districts in fiscal 2009-2010.

The state is legally required to pay back that money with interest by June 30, 2013, which will allow the local agencies to pay off the debt.

Though not ideal, county officials say the move will stem short-term cuts and help keep the county on sound financial footing.

"It allows us to keep that money in reserve to handle emergency issues," Supervisor John Tavaglione said. "It allows us to keep it as a cushion."

As of Thursday, the joint powers authority, known as California Communities, consists of 400 cities, 57 counties and 902 special districts.

Once the bonds are sold, the proceeds will remain in escrow until the state withholds the property tax payments. Then, on Jan. 15 and May 3, the joint powers authority will distribute the money to local agencies to make up for the loss from the state.

Even though the state is required to pay back the money by 2013, Tavaglione said he still worries the repayment might not happen, given past state budget problems.

"There is always that risk," he said.

The mental competency hearing for a man who is being retried for the murder of two Riverside Police Department officers in 1982 is being scheduled for next week.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Daniels is expected to meet with the psychologist Wednesday. If he is found competent to assist his attorneys, the criminal trial and death penalty proceedings could remain on track for a Nov. 2 trial date.

If the judge finds evidence that Daniels is not competent to face the murder charges, Daniels would be ordered to a state prison mental facility for treatment.

The case would not resume until Daniels is deemed mentally fit for trial. Given his age and fragile health, his attorneys say that may never happen.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Mitchell said he believes Daniels is competent and able to assist his attorneys. He said he has shown awareness and cooperated with the court for the past several years.

Riverside Public Utilities is promoting measures to conserve water in this time of severe drought.

The end of an era in the Los Angeles Police Department in more ways than one. The department has finished with its new administrative headquarters and they're saying goodbye to Police Chief William Bratton.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

City Hall, across the street, was reflected in the new building's windows, while a gigantic American flag was draped over part of the structure's exterior, occasionally moving in the gentle breeze that gave relief to those sitting under the blistering sun.

The Los Angeles Police Department Band, taiko drummers and Mexican folk dancers provided a musical backdrop for the occasion.

"What a beautiful Los Angeles morning it is," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told those attending the ceremony. "Today we can celebrate great progress. Today we can celebrate the changes, perceptions and opinions of our Police Department."

Construction of the 500,000-square-foot building began about three years ago. A price tag of $437 million covers the headquarters complex and three related structures nearby. Funds came from Proposition Q, a public safety facilities bond measure approved by voters in March 2002.

The bond measure also provided money for the repair of some LAPD stations, as well the construction of new ones in Canoga Park, Koreatown, San Pedro and Boyle Heights.

On Saturday, Police Chief William J. Bratton, who is leaving the department at the end of this week, talked about the symbolically significant location of the new headquarters -- flanked on three sides by City Hall, the Caltrans building and the Los Angeles Times. He said those three neighbors represented the Police Department's obligation to serve the community, its requirement to cooperate with state, federal and county governments and its need for transparency to the media and public.

"You couldn't ask for a better siting," Bratton said.

In San Jose, police officers are being investigated for the beating of a college student, an incident that was videotaped last month.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

A grainy cellphone video posted on the San Jose Mercury News website shows at least one police officer subduing the student with a baton. The San Jose State student can be heard screaming on the recording. Police had been called to a home Sept. 3 after a report that the student, Phuong Ho, was fighting with his roommate, police said.

The department is conducting a "thorough investigation" that will be turned over to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office for review, Sgt. Ronnie Lopez said.

Lopez said the department launched the investigation immediately after learning about the incident late last week. Investigators are interviewing witnesses and reviewing the posted cellphone video, along with other video.

"Our investigators are reviewing this entire case from beginning to end," he said. "They want to make sure that the force used was necessary."

Two officers, Kenneth Siegel and Steven Payne Jr., are seen on the video, police said. Two other officers were also at the scene. All four are on administrative leave.

Few city residents are turning to the civilian review board in Boston. Given all the upheaval over that process in that city, the results of a study conducted on user satisfaction giving it less than passing grades aren't surprising.

(excerpt, Boston Globe)

Interviews by the Harvard team with 27 people who did not appeal to the board after their abuse allegations were dismissed found that the vast majority were disillusioned with the way the police department handled their cases. Only one of those surveyed knew the civilian review board existed. Many believed that the police department’s internal affairs division, which investigates allegations of misconduct, as well as the independent civilian review board, favored police officers and would not take their complaints seriously.

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said he was “surprised and disappointed’’ that so few people have used the board, and he is committed to making it work. He said he is trying to “scare up’’ money for a more comprehensive review by Harvard, and is also trying to better inform the public about the board by sending officers to neighborhood meetings and putting up more signs in police stations.

The civilian review board, formally called the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel, is made up of three people appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino; one of the seats has been vacant since August. The police department currently informs people about the board by mailing them a letter if their complaint is dismissed by internal affairs.

Davis said he is also trying to establish a mediation process to review complaints, which the Harvard report recommended. Davis said that not only are citizens unhappy with the system, a survey of officers would probably show “a similar feeling of dissatisfaction with the whole procedure.’’

“I’d be very upset’’ if the panel did not succeed, Davis said.

Activists are seeking to reform the Internal Affairs Division in San Antonio's police department.

(excerpt, San Antonio Current)

SAPD Chief Bill McManus called in the D.C.-based police-consulting group, Police Executive Research Forum, to review and advise the department on use-of-force measures. When those 141 recommended changes were released last summer, McManus quickly accepted most of them.

However, measures to reform Internal Affairs were handed over to a special task force to hash out over months of meetings. Thanks to the resistance of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, many of the most vital reforms didn’t make the cut, said Mario Salas, chairman of the San Antonio Coalition on Civil and Human Rights and task force member.

“This police union is out of control,” he said this week. “There’s not accountability, as far as that’s concerned, and there’s no transparency.”

Antonio Diaz, of the Texas Indigenous Council, has been agitating for reform. He told the Current this week that he took his concerns to Assistant City Manager Eric Walsh, who is leading contract negotiations with the union. While Walsh failed to return a Monday call from the Current and the city’s communication office still hasn’t gotten back with us, Diaz said in email that police aggression in the city is “getting worse.”

“As an Activist I get complaints from people that are afraid to go before Internal Affairs because of the biased way that it is setup. The Civilian Review Board is a joke,” Diaz said.


October 22, 2009


Mary-Beth Baptista, the Director of the City Auditor's Independent Police Review (IPR) Division is pleased to announce that six nominees will be presented to the Portland City Council today at 2 PM in Council Chambers, by Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade, for appointment to serve on the Citizen Review Committee (CRC).

IPR and the nine-member CRC were created in 2001 to help improve police accountability, promote higher standards of police services, and increase public confidence. These volunteers were selected by a committee that included one past and two current (but not re-applying) members of the CRC, two representatives from the community, and the IPR Director.

To learn more about IPR: http://www.portland auditor/index. cfm?c=26646&

To learn more about the CRC: http://www.portland auditor/index. cfm?c=27069

Contact the IPR office @ 503-823-0146.


1. Jeffrey Bissonnette

2. Ayoob Ramjan

3. Myra Simon

4. F.G. (Jamie) Troy II

Jeffrey Bissonnette is the Organizing Director for the Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon (CUB), representing residential utility ratepayers in Oregon. In that role, he leads CUB's legislative program and coalition work. He has been appointed by the Public Utility Commission to the Portfolio Options Committee, overseeing renewable energy products offered to customers and serves on the boards of the Northwest Energy Coalition and the Renewable Northwest Project. Bissonnette was formerly a board member of Portland Community Media and the Steering Committee of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters' Multnomah County chapter.

Appointed October 2009 — term is from October 22, 2009 through December 31, 2011

Ayoob Ramjan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Oregon Institute of Technology and a Masters in Business Administration from Marylhurst University. He is currently a Research and Development Manager at Hewlett Packard Company in Vancouver, Washington — Printer Division. Ramjan served as a citizen member on the City of Portland Budget Committee from 2006 to 2009, an appointment then by Mayor Potter. He has volunteered since 2001 on the Portland Police Advisory Committee; he also served as the citizens' member on the Portland Police Performance Review Board; and is a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Citizen Advisory Committee. Ramjan is an active board member of the Islamic Social Services of Oregon State, an all-volunteer social service organization which helps Portlanders in need. He is an active member in his community trying to bridge the gap of understanding between the diverse communities of Portland. He lives in Southwest Portland.

Appointed October 2009 — term is from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011

Myra Simon is a graduate of Lewis and Clark College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters in Teaching High School Social Studies. She currently works at Regence Bluecross Blueshield of Oregon as a Strategy and Performance Manager. Prior to working in health care, Simon worked with homeless and at-risk youth in downtown Portland. She currently volunteers with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Appointed October 2009 — term is from October 22, 2009 through December 31, 2011

F.G. (Jamie) Troy II is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and of Lewis and Clark Law School. He works with the law firm of Troy, Rosenberg and Wolfe, P.C. where his practice focuses on Juvenile and Family Law cases. He is on the Board of the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund working to fund the education of future attorneys dedicated to eliminating bigotry and discrimination based on sexual orientation. An avid marathoner, Jamie currently leads training runs for the Portland Marathon Training Clinic and looks forward to increasing the double digit number of marathons he has completed to date. He is an East Coast (Virginia) transplant who has resided in the area for over a decade. He lives in Northeast Portland.

Appointed October 2009 — term is from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011


1. Loren Eriksson

2. Hank Miggins

Loren Eriksson retired after 25 years of service as a Portland firefighter and volunteers his time and resources to help the Portland community. He is a member of the Portland Police Bureau's Use of Force and Performance Review Boards and serves on the Employee Information System Advisory Committee. Eriksson has also been a member of the Force Task Force (it analyzed the Bureau's use of force data and provided reports to the Chief of Police in 2007 and 2009).
Appointed December 2003 — term is from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011
(Current CRC Recorder)

Hank Miggins has an extensive background in multi-faceted services with experience in managing diverse personnel. He was a former City Manager for the City of Spokane and is currently a mortgage consultant. Miggins has held positions with Multnomah County: Animal Control Director, Interim Director of the County Exposition Center, Deputy County Auditor, Executive Assistant to the Chair of the Multnomah County Commission, and Interim Chair of the Multnomah County Commission. He is a member and serves on the Board of Directors for: the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, the Center for Airway Science, and the Board of Trustees for De La Salle North Catholic High School. He is a former member of civic organizations that include: Board of Bar Governors, Oregon State Bar, the Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs, Project Pooch (a rehabilitation program pairing dogs with incarcerated youth), and the Mainstream Youth Program, Inc.

Appointed October 2001 — term is from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011
(Current CRC Vice-chair)

Mary-Beth Baptista, Director
City of Portland/City Auditor
Independent Police Review Division (IPR)
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 320
Portland, OR 97204-1900

Interoffice Address: 131/320
mary-beth.baptista@ ci.portland.

www.portlandonline. com/auditor/ ipr

Candidates Forum

The NAACP in Riverside will be holding a mayoral candidates forum at Emerson Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 2 from 5-9 with the speakers coming at 6 p.m.


Mayor Ron Loveridge is holding a Multicultural Forum on Friday, Oct. 30 from 7:30 a.m to 9 a.m. at City Hall. One of the topics on the agenda will be the Neo Nazi demonstrations.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Latest Nazi and counter demonstration in the All-American City

Who: About 20 Neo Nazis, 700 counter demonstrators and police from state, county and two city agencies not to mention representatives from the Department of Justice Community Relations Division and the National Lawyers' Guild.

Neo Nazi Rally and counter-rally, some scuffles, two arrests

Where: Indiana and Madison in Casa Blanca

When: Saturday, Oct. 23 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

[The Neo-Nazis showed up with their props and their own security, aka "stormtroopers" which were basically men dressed up in black, including helmets and carrying those plastic wrist bracelets on their chests.]

[The Neo-Nazis after they arrived near Indiana and Madison in Casa Blanca surrounded by police dressed in riot gear.]

[Riverside Police Department Det. Lavall Nelson working on crowd control detail today. Representatives of the police department, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, the Corona Police Department and the California Highway Patrol were called out as well. Would Nelson be a citizen under Nazi America? Of course not, yet here he is still protecting the Nazis right to speech anyway.]

[One of the activists, aka Trumpet Man spent much of the demonstration playing music pretty well. Here he's conversing with members of the Riverside Police Department's Metro division.]

[The motor division of the police department awaiting instructions. That's pretty much the entire division.]

[Trumpet Man and other protesters who marched for four miles around Riverside before arriving at the main counter-rally played their drums and chanted on Madison during the last hour of the demonstration.]

[Counter demonstrators met up with police after a second contingent arrived about halfway through.]

[Protesters clashed not long after the Neo Nazis arrived after some Brown Berets allegedly allowed some people to leave the closed off area and cross the street. The metal barricades being used for the first time by the department caused more problems than anything else.]

[A small group of counter demonstrators crossed the street and went over to where the Neo Nazis were standing trying to get their flags again. Police came and pushed them back.]

[Police in riot gear stand between the counter-demonstrators and the Neo Nazis behind them.]

[Two Neo Nazis doing well, the Heil Hitler thing doing nothing to distance themselves from their predecessors in Germany which isn't surprising.]

Morning Breaks

Morning broke over Casa Blanca, a predominantly Latino neighborhood with deep historic roots as it usually did and people came from all over to congregate near the intersection of Madison and Indiana in force to protest and rally against a small cluster of Neo Nazis drawn from Riverside, San Francisco and San Diego who were returning to the site where they had protested and had been run off earlier in the month, their flags in tatters. It was clear very early on that the Neo Nazis would be vastly outnumbered even more this time as over 60 organizations were represented at this latest rally. The coalition of organizations had assigned dozens of "monitors" to the rally to try to keep the peace. They would have their work cut out for them as both demonstrations unfolded and some of those who had said they were there to keep the peace changed their minds.

But before all that, people began to arrive and assemble on the sidewalks and in the driveways of local businesses and restaurants and talk with each other within the final hour before both demonstrations would begin. Monitors with colored hats (pink for monitors, green for National Lawyers' Guild) and pink armbands began to circulate. Media outlets began to arrive including several satellite trucks. Mainstream media of course is afforded the privileges that alternative media is not when the department's designated media screener abruptly changed the rules after the demonstration had turned into a conflict and apparently didn't apply those amended rules to about a dozen men with video cameras and no credentials of any kind who were actually mostly just wandering around, at least one clearly inebriated the whole time, swearing up a storm and calling for people to charge the Nazis. Lesson learned for future blog coverage, apparently if you carry a video camera around or wear a camera around your neck, get plenty sauced up ahead of time and swear up a storm, you'll pass muster with the police department's press screening division because clearly this gentleman and others did.

Still, some interesting photographs made it on this site as you can see here and there were a lot of stories that came out of this day which can't be narrowed down to the sound bytes that you see on television. Life's more complicated than that even in Riverside. Actually, especially in Riverside.

Having written for a community newspaper for 10 years that had to fight for every space it ever covered any news event even amid threats and news racks getting tossed by the dozen in the back of a city-0wned vehicle by an irate city, you learn to go with the flow with the realization there's just a multi-tiered list of privileges or rights or whatever you want to call them for different media outlets. Certainly in Riverside which is ironic considering that the Los Angeles Times vacated its office in downtown and the Press Enterprise appears to be on life support, certainly in its coverage of Riverside. Someone once told me that one of the former reporters there told him, it is difficult to be a journalist when you're on a leash. That's a pretty sad state of affairs for what was once a fairly good and very respected family owned newspapers, one of the last to sell out to a major conglomerate in the country and is apparently represented by the same major law firm as the city of Riverside.

It was interesting watching several credentialed photographers and reporters completely get into everybody's way and even their own way so apparently with that piece of plastic doesn't come common sense. It's always a bit strange to watch major events unfold, try to cover them from that different perspective and then here that examining a piece of Riverside's history is by invitation only. When in reality, history belongs to everyone who witnesses it not just a select few and face it, the daily newspapers including the Press Enterprise are in their death knells unless they radically change the direction of journalism in a technological age.

Early on, one of the credentialed guys who must have been at his first demonstration gasped at the first skirmish between the Neo Nazis and the Brown Berets calling it a riot and got on his cell phone calling someone to tell them he was standing in the middle of a riot. I just looked at him and shook my head. No, because if he were actually standing in the middle of one, he'd probably toss the cell phone and run down the street.

No, a riot is when you're sitting in a taxi cab in a foreign country and a dozen people are pushing on it and trying to turn it over while you're trying to crawl out of it while being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No a riot, is when a city explodes into fire and rage and not being able to locate your mother who's working at a hospital blocks away from ground zero (and brought home a car covered with some dents from someone dancing on it) and a stepfather who is sitting on the patio and watching the smoke of buildings burning down several blocks away, or for many people, when you lose your business, your neighborhood, everything you've ever known, or your life experiences shared by thousands of people in different cities. Riot is a term that tends to get tossed around a lot to describe any physical confrontation but true riots themselves are less common for the same reasons that any major firestorm in an area is a rare event. Because the fuel that is needed to build both takes years, even decades to develop until all it takes is one spark to set it off, burning out of control. Riots are brief episodes of frustration and rage burning up years worth of fuel followed by years more of pain as people are left to rebuild everything from ashes. They aren't something you quickly forget and it's not a term that you quickly throw out around but many people do and did including on this day in Riverside.

So no, this wasn't a riot or even close. These were physical skirmishes, between one side that brought the most vilified symbol in human history into a neighborhood filled with people who didn't want it there and hundreds of people who were opposed to Nazis in their midst but were diversified to the point where they brought in agendas which were different from each other. Most people wanted to demonstrate, but peacefully and others came prepared for an encore performance of the last time that the Neo Nazis and counter-demonstrators met which is something the two opposing sides had in common, because the Neo Nazis wanted that repeat performance too so they would have the chance to script a different ending this time where they walked back to their foreign made cars (albeit under police escort) rather than being chased back to them.

Of course, it didn't start that way. The morning began quietly enough with most people in good spirits looking at the demonstration ahead, to make a peaceful stand against the Neo Nazis in their midst. They brought their signs and banners and their voices. Several people brought newspapers and pamphlets to circulate on a wide variety of issues from immigration to health care to socialism. People passed out water bottles as they would do so all day. Some people brought their lawn chairs so they could sit back and watch the show under the hot sun.

Joe Vazquez who owns the security firm that works at the nearby Home Depot had at least a dozen of his employees many packing guns stationed around the store and the sidewalk lining the north side of Madison. Rudy Chavez, the owner of the Chavez Auto Parts store across the street from where Vazquez was stationed had been in business at that location since 1970 and he and friends were watching the events unfold just as they had at the previous one in September. Christina Duran, an activist and leader in the Eastside was one of the monitor captains who would be running around trying to address flareups that took place during the protest before they could more fully erupt. She would get barely any rest during the next three hours.

Incidentally, all three of these people are citizens and all would be deported under Nazi America according to the NSM's 25 point plan because they're not White. Yet Duran stopped a counter demonstrator from throwing rocks at the Nazis at one point in the demonstration.

The entire command staff of the police department(including both those who would and wouldn't be deported by the Nazis in their vision of America) along with Chief Russ Leach appeared at the intersection with police officers wearing the green uniforms that identify them as SWAT near a mobile unit truck ready to deploy while others stood on the roof on top of Farmer Boys' Restaurant looking down below. The SWAT division headed by both Capt. John Wallace who is in charge of Special Operations and Lt. Larry Gonzalez who soon may be the only lieutenant in that division after the two others retire were out in full force as well as what appeared to be most of the rest of the department's patrol division along with detectives, officers in personnel and training and even the current domestic/family violence sergeant.

Not to mention the half dozen or so plain clothed officers who were members of the Gang and Vice/Criminal Intelligence units officer was videotaping the counter demonstrators. The under cover officers were probably the only White people there not carrying one sign or another saying they were for or against Nazism. It's not clear whether the Nazis themselves were actually videotaped by police officers but they were videotaped by everyone else including the aforementioned inebriated cameraman.

Because the police department didn't want a repeat of the last clash between demonstrators, so its officers created a different game plan this one or so that was the plan.

Protesting on the grassy knoll for anyone was out this time around so everyone was to be given a designated spot in the dirt adjacent to a railroad tracks. Actually the Neo Nazis got that location by default after counter-demonstrators began arriving before the protest with dozens lining up by 9:30 a.m. one immediate problem was created when the Neo Nazis arrived just after 10 a.m. with their own security dressed in costumes and positioned themselves on that location and that was that a troop of Brown Berets had picked a spot for themselves immediately adjacent to where the Nazis were to be located. At about this time, another 100 demonstrators from Riverside Community College were doing a four mile walk for peace playing drums and chanting slogans while carrying banners although they hadn't arrived at the main rally yet. Some people said that people they knew in Casa Blanca had been warned not to to go to the counter demonstration by police. Reports also came in, including one that police officers had headed off a group of people carrying sticks who were coming to the rally and no one seemed to know how much truth there was to any of it. There would often be a fine line between rumor and fact that day.

The Neo Nazis Arrive

The group of Neo Nazis finally arrived to a crowd of counter demonstrators lining both Madison and Indiana streets waiting for them. Most of them looked puny in stature and were clearly not long out of high school. Almost all of them were men except for a blond woman who was photographed at the last demonstration doing the Heil Hitler gesture and posted as some heroine on Inland Empire Craigslist where the Nazis had been doing some advertising before they began demonstrating in Riverside. Several had tattoos on their shaved scalps, others on their arms and all of them wore dark colors and darker sun glasses including the so-called "storm troopers" who alas, weren't dressed like the ones in Star Wars. There were more of them than there had been at the previous demonstration which wasn't surprising because they clearly had spent the interim between both performances in rehearsal. They tried to look impressive but a lot of people talked about how underwhelming they looked in person when they arrived.

The story is that most of them are very young people having their strings pulled by some older members of National Socialist Movement out of the Bay Area. The older guy who had come down from San Francisco to help them has been photographed at rallies held by SOS and the Minutemen in various locations in Southern California, predominantly in Orange County. The national organization of the NSM is actually based in Detroit but chapters very small in size have been popping up in different states and holding similar rallies. At some point, a guy in Riverside decided that his city would be a perfect location for the NSM's California chapter and he started it out of his own home.

The Inland Empire is actually not a bad choice for Neo Nazis to show up and try to attract membership, given the current recession which has hit this area much harder than other areas and the high unemployment particularly in the blue collar sector. Combine that with the fact that one of the most fastest growing demographics for hate crimes are Latino citizens and immigrants and it's not surprising that a group of people with a White Supremacist ideology would come calling. Whether anybody actually answers and their numbers grow remains to be seen but demonstrations like the last two have given them plenty of fodder to use in recruitment in what they clearly see as a hotbed for finding warm bodies to join up.

They are targeting their recruitment efforts at people opposed to undocumented immigrants but in reality, they believe that even illegal European immigrants belong in this country and people of color who are legal citizens do not so it's got very little to do about the contentious subject of immigration and more to do with promoting White Supremacy. After all, one guy had "white power" on his shirt sleeve and they yelled as many insults about Jewish people as they did anyone else. Because after all, in their version of America, the Jewish people would be deported as well and the undocumented White immigrants from Europe would of course be moved to the front of the line for citizenship under Nazi America with the Nazis' version of a magic wand.

The Fists Start Flying

The first eruption took place not long after the long-awaited attraction with an audience of over 500 and at the time about $40,000 in police overtime waiting for them to come and do their thing which consists of waving flags which were either a composite of the Stars and Stripes with the swastika or a flag depicting the twin lightning bolts and yelling slogans like "Jews wreck the economy." Oh and when things slowed down, they did the Heil Hitler salute several times with better synchronization than most watches. As one woman told another who had just arrived at the demonstration, "the Nazis are here and oh wait, one of them just lifted an arm." News traveled back and forth through the long line of counter demonstrators on Madison like a game of telephone as people watched things unfold.

The Nazis had been protesting for all of about five minutes before a small group of demonstrators including members of the Brown Berets who were there to do security purportedly at the request of Casa Blanca they said, started rushing to the opposite side of the street to go chase down the Nazis calling on other people to join them. Several of them reached them and began throwing punches and trying to grab them and the Nazis threw punches back. Police including the SWAT team moved in quickly after first appearing to be caught a bit by surprise and broke up the tussle, taking one member of the Brown Berets named Rudy away to be arrested or detained. He was not seen for the remainder of the protest but it's ironic as one organizer said later, that the person who was arrested was a "peacekeeping" captain. Most of the other monitors worked very hard to try to keep things peaceful.

More police arrive soon after including those from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Corona Police Department. California Highway Patrol officers show up to close off Madison street and the nearby onramp to the 91 freeway where traffic backs up in part because people on the freeway are watching what is going on in the streets below them. The police helicopter from Riverside's police department and the CHP both flew around in circles during the demonstration.

Welcome to Riverside and just another day in one of America's Most Livable Cities. Now move along. Look, there's Corona!

Strategizing Hate

One of the organizers later said that the monitor captain who was arrested felt a bit sorry that he had gone over there where the Neo Nazis were but that he couldn't help himself when they had shown up. That organizer later said that he felt "betrayed" that some of the people who had engaged in the first round of tussling at the past demonstration had broken what he said were promises not to do it again, but on the internet, protesters from that demonstration had said that they were bringing their saliva and flag ripping skills back to Riverside on the 24th of October. They talked about it on some sites around early October and then went quiet, most likely because they were fully aware how law enforcement agencies monitor those sites for information about upcoming demonstrations and probably had moved their discussions elsewhere.

As stated earlier, the Nazis had one simple objective, to hold their ground for the three hours of protest time and to get plenty of footage of any physical confrontation between themselves and the counter-demonstrators to use in their future membership drives. Much as they did the last demonstration of what they called the Great Eight (not the most creative of slogans but they don't seem like an imaginative bunch) who withstood machetes, rocks in an "hour" of "street fighting" which is very dramatic stuff except for the fact that they had only been protesting for about 15 minutes before fleeing and there were no such weapons seen in any of the video footage taken by media outlets including the Press Enterprise. But their version sounds so much more exciting than what really happened even if their own visual depiction of the earlier demonstration doesn't back it up and so they have sold it all over the internet to attract an audience. The Press Enterprise and other media outlets had written enough about there being a physical confrontation between the two without going into details which provided them with an avenue to embellish on.

More Nazis came out this time, including some from out of town, and they seemed much more animated and sounded much louder. Which is very useful when you're Riverside's latest tourist attraction. Not that they are the first batch of White Supremacists groups, gangs or social clubs (and people seem really loathe to call them gangs even when they're violent) to come to Riverside but they're the most visible and wear the best costumes. People treat them as if they are the great thing to fear when in reality what really exists to be afraid of or concerned about is already here and they're just the latest offshoot of that.

They're not the ones to be afraid of, it's what brought them out here and out of the woodwork. It's what makes them feel that Riverside, the city with a half a dozen slogans none of which mention the Nazis, is the epicenter of their latest movement. That is why that chasing them off isn't going to be as easy as some people seem to think. A young female member of the Brown Berets actually said an interesting comment when asked why they had reacted to the Neo Nazi presence with force this time. Because we thought if we got them angry enough, they would turn around and leave, she said, seemingly surprised that their actions had just made them more steadfast at staying on a strip of dirt next to a railroad track in Casa Blanca.

And they won, because for there being only about eight of them, all they have to do now is issue a press release that they're going to demonstrate and hundreds of people show up, many demonstrating peacefully, some not not to mention dozens of law enforcement. That's an incredible amount of power that's just been given to the latest hate group to seek a home in Riverside and it didn't cost them very much. When the Ku Klux Klan protested in Riverside in 1999 riding on the coattails of tremendous upheaval after the shooting of Tyisha Miller, they attracted very little attention and soon withered away, never to issue another press release of a demonstration again.

The actions of a few just ensured that the Nazis will be more entrenched in the fabric of this city than they were already. That's how it often works with hate groups and gangs especially those who constitute the minority of a population. They expect to be hated by the people they hate so they aren't surprised when they show up with their symbols of hate that are meant to incite and people react exactly the way they want them to react. As long as this strategy is used against them, they'll get stronger because hatred is what fuels their cause and negative attention is still attention. Hatred, and the absence of anything that's positive is what their movement is all about. If they are like many White Supremacist gangs, maybe hatred or the absence of its opposite, love is the only thing they've known in their lives. The only way for them to have "White Pride" or pride in their racial identity as they call it is to believe that everyone else is inferior or animalistic in comparison.

One church going man figured that out and his story is below.

After the first skirmish, the police officers changed their positions pushed people back in several directions including across the railroad tracks which were blocked for the majority of the protests but no trains passed through Casa Blanca during the demonstration. Only the yellow tape that is often used at crime scenes to seal them off kept the demonstrators apart from the line of riot police which separated them from each other. And it was stretched as tightly as many of the emotions and nerves there.

The main reason this group of Neo Nazis had planned to target Casa Blanca because of the day laborer site that exists near McDonalds and Home Depot on Indiana and Madison and because they were hoping for a polarized response which is exactly what they took home with them. It's a safe bet that even as this blog posting is being written that the Neo Nazis after their own victory celebration are probably sending out accounts and videos of the "violence" against them all over the internet, much like the counter demonstrators are doing the same thing about their victory but who really "won" here? Because even if they "lost" the last round which is debatable, they won this one. And that will be the case any time they are physically confronted by a large crowd of people, as long as any punches they throw are in self defense.

They won it within the first five minutes of the rally, they won it when several counter demonstrators began throwing rocks, bottles and some fruit at them that were stashed allegedly inside a plastic barrel that had been used as a drum, and they sealed the deal when they left three hours after they had arrived including one who had a napkin pressed to his head from where a rock had hit him. And when the monitors including a woman tried to tell people to stop throwing things at the Nazis and the police officers, at least one of them, the woman, was physically assaulted and might have been hurt if the guy's girlfriend hadn't interceded.

But then the sexism and downright misogyny was unfortunately pretty thick among some of the men in this demonstration particularly its final hour. Since the Nazis like most White Supremacists essentially view women as breeders, either desirable (Aryan) or not (everyone else), it seemed a natural direction for them to take their rhetoric and it turned out to come just as easily for some of the counter-demonstrators as well.

About that time, both sides ran out of slogans to yell at each other and so they started insulting each other instead and the best way that men might have to insult each other is to label each other as women. One side would say that he had fucked the other one's wife and the other would say that they were a bunch of "pussies" because of course demeaning each other, by demeaning the entire female gender is a great way to get your point across, proving that whether ideology exists, misogyny has not been thoroughly or even partly stamped out of it.

But the majority of the counter demonstrators kept on topic and ignored the Nazis pleas to the White contingent of that group to "wake up" and come right on over to their side. Nobody did.

Hundreds of demonstrators waved American, Mexican and Israeli flags from the side of Madison near Farmers' Boys and chanted slogans against Nazism and hate. As usual, that upset more people in the Press Enterprise's comment section than the reality that the Nazis had taken the American flag and merged it with the Nazi Germany flag to create a Stars and Stripes version with a swastika in the middle of it. It's ironic to have almost an entire generation of men and women go to war as Americans to fight Nazism and then to come full circle by having American flags with swastikas stitched on them.

Still, the people who counter demonstrated were people of all ages, ethnic and racial backgrounds and represented the different economic and social strata of life. It's interesting how the Nazis labeled the counter-demonstrators as "violent Jews, Illegal Immigrants and homosexual Rights Activists" and the Press Enterprise called them "Mexicans, blacks, Jews and Gays", both essentially trying to place identity labels on the counter demonstrators that define some of them but not all of them. In the final version of its article, this portion of it apparently was deleted.

It's difficult to know how the Press Enterprise reporter could have ascertained people's sexual orientation on sight unless she conducted a poll ahead of time and known that every Latino was a citizen of Mexico when the majority of Latinos in attendance were in fact citizens of this country and quite a few of them were of Guatemalan ancestry. And people of Central American ancestry often don't like being called Mexicans very much. Not to mention that not all the White straight Christian people protesting there were Nazis or aligning themselves with them, since they comprised at least half of the counter demonstrators. But it's not the first time the publication has tried to marginalize the definitions of demonstrators.

Soon after, the marchers with their drums and one guy who played a trumpet joined the other demonstrators and were met by the police department's motorcycle division and the people played their instruments and chanted and the police officers revved up their sirens which created quite an interesting cacophony. The inebriated cameraman still swearing up a blue streak and others photographed them lining up toe to toe with the squad of motor officers until the Nazis departed.

Riverside: The City of the Arts, Innovation and...Nazis?

If you watched the news to check out the coverage of the Neo Nazi rally and the counter rally, you'll see several different maps with Riverside written on them, superimposed with a swastika. That image was shown everywhere on news broadcasts and apparently outside the state as well, with some people wondering if Riverside was being overrun with Nazis. So in a city where the government loves to engage in the exercise of voting a new catchy logo or slogan once a month or so, has now had one adopted for it by the media and it's the most reviled logo of all time. And what you've seen also in the past month with the exception of Mayor Ron Loveridge is silence from City Hall on this issue. And if you know anything about the history of protesting in Riverside, a lot of it comes about when a critical issue or incident arises or occurs and there's not a peep about it out of the elected government until long after the fact. Loveridge obviously figured this out albeit with some help after the protests that took place in the aftermath of the Miller shooting in 1999 which began during what some called the month of silence out of City Hall. But the rest of the city council wasn't in office when that took place and have hit a rather steep learning curve though at least they haven't hired a public relations firm to speak for it at least not yet.

The Nazis have also made some appearances in different places since the last demonstration. Whether it's to intimidate people they don't like or do some form of community outreach, was very clear in some cases, not so much in others.

People have been talking about the experiences in the past few weeks and different "Nazi sightings". One demonstrator talked about how two Nazis had come by his church and dropped in while the church was conducting its choir practice. He invited the Nazis to come and sit down to help with the singing and they just muttered something and left the church soon after. On this day, the man who have extended some hospitality to the visiting Nazis wore his tee-shirt for peace and held his sign on the street with hundreds of others. In early October, two Nazis had come to a Jewish temple and unfurled their Nazi flags. Racist and antisemitic graffiti had appeared at other religious institutions. Those actions just brought out hundreds more people to the counter demonstration.

What's always discouraging is reading the Press Enterprise threads and seeing the blatant racism on them including support and sympathy towards the Nazis and their cause which was presented as being against illegal immigration and the day laborer site in Casa Blanca. Okay, if that's your issue and you're down with them, then ask yourself this. If this group of Nazis is just about that issue then why were they yelling slurs against the Jews and the gays and lesbians? No, if you go to their national Web site and read their 25 point plan, they're very clear about what their platform is even if they were intially less than honest about putting their hatred of non-White, straight, Christian people on display until yesterday. So go read that plan and see if you're still down with them. They were a little bit less disingenuous about just how many groups of people they hate in this demonstration as opposed to their last one but the national site will give readers more of an idea about exactly where they stand against people who aren't well...of the Aryan standard. And yes, that might mean you, your family, your coworkers and your friends.

To Protect and Serve Nazis?

There was a lot of talk at the protest and afterward about why the police including SWAT team members were protecting the Nazis and whether or not that meant that they openly or secretly identified themselves in that group. Actually, they weren't there to protect the Nazis just their freedom of speech under the United States Constitution. One of the mottoes of the American Civil Liberties Union is that the Constitution is in place to protect the minority from the majority, which in this case were the Nazis.

But at the demonstration, you had the Nazis who make it clear in their 25 point plan that they don't respect the right to freedom of expression, speech or the press for anyone but themselves. Yet they have been demanding that they have a right under the American Constitution that they wouldn't include in an encompassing way in their own Constitution under Nazi America. Then you had other individuals who tried to make sure within five minutes of their arrival that the Nazis didn't have the ability to exercise their rights either. And some of them made it clear on Los Angeles Indy Media and other sites that their intent wasn't merely to counter demonstrate against the Nazis either in September or at protests after that date, but to shut them down and chase them out of Riverside. So they run across the street at the demonstration in Riverside after promising the coalition of organizations that they wouldn't, even when there were children at the protest (and people had been advised not to bring their children) to do just that. Then they are surprised when the police officers in riot gear form a line between them and the Nazis?

The police near the railroad tracks stood there for several hours as a group of counter demonstrators taunted them and one officer who as it turns out is actually well known for his helpful demeanor and his professionalism by many people was singled out for most of the harassing comments.

But the police were very restrained, especially compared to the actions taken by the Los Angeles Police Department at most of their demonstrations including the one that took place on May Day during 2007 and so far has caused the city $13 million in the settlement of claims. After probably about $15 million in settlements involving the lawsuits filed by injured journalists are settled, it will probably be the second most costly police action (after the beating of Rodney King) and misconduct in the last 20 years.

I had discussions a while back with personnel in the Riverside Police Department's management about the MacArthur Park incident and what strategies would be employed by the department's own crowd response detail to avoid a similar incident. They outlined actions that they would take that were different and some of those actions were on display during the three hour rally in some pretty difficult circumstances. Even when the projectiles started flying.

What Comes Next?

When the demonstration finally ended at 1 p.m. after the Nazis left the scene under a police escort, many of the counter demonstrators went to a nearby park for a festival and the police contingent left for a post-rally debriefing. The Nazis did their little post-rally briefing where they mentioned that they would be protesting in Casa Blanca on a regular basis. The counter demonstrators' coalition wasn't sure what it wanted to do at this point.

Comments began crowding the Press Enterprise site, about half supporting the Nazis either directly or indirectly and about half not.

In the quiet between the demonstrations, that is when most everything happens, the conditions which contribute to the Nazis' beliefs that the Inland Empire in general and Riverside in particular is the perfect spot to set up their state chapter office. And the question always is there to be asked, what are people doing when the cameras aren't there, and the Nazis aren't in plain sight in Casa Blanca or protesting at the nearby synagogue bringing their symbols with them. Are actions taken by people really the solution, are they quenching the fire or are they fueling it? If the Nazis think that Riverside is a hotbed for racism, antisemitism and hatred, what are people doing to address that situation, not just once a month facing off against the most visible manifestation of what has been festering in Riverside for a while now, but on a daily basis? Are the Nazis and their supporters at the NSM in Detroit right about Riverside being the place for them? Are they wrong? And who and what will ultimately answer that question?

I guess we'll all find out in the weeks and months ahead.

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